Trichotomy: The Image of God

By Kevin Leland

For The Creationology and Theography Project

Trichotomy, by definition is simply a system made up of three parts. This article is NOT going to take us down the Trinitarian Theology Highway. It will reference the Trinity, as Christians of all denominations understand it, One God -Father, Son, Holy Spirit; but this three lane, Trichotomy Highway we are about to merge onto is going to take us to a place of understanding ourselves.

How is it that human beings, like no other creature in the universe, are created in God’s image? The human being has always…Well, maybe until recently, thanks to Darwin and Freud, thought of himself as more than a computer made of meat. Since the beginning, mankind has known that there was an essence that could not be seen or touched, kneaded into the ground beef, eggs and bread crumbs that animate this walking meatloaf called man. Since long ago we have perceived this ghostly entity within us all, as the very thing that enables us to sing and dance, talk and laugh, and do many other non-reactive things. Jumping when poked with a needle; that’s reactive.

Learned, ancient people also knew that it was this invisible spirit that made us very different from other creatures; like say, a worm, which also flinches when poked with a needle. They observed that if a worm sat on a tack it would quickly jump up…But because it had no soul, the worm wouldn’t get pissed and hit his mischievous student over the head with a scroll for sneaking it onto his seat.

PsycheThat’s what the ancient Greeks called this invisible life driving force that’s individually contained in every breathing meatloaf, giving it personality and emotion and feelings. “Life” had a different definition then too. A frog didn’t have life just because it had blood circulation, anymore than a maple tree had life because it had sap coursing through it. Modern man gets confused because science teaches, factually, that these are both “living” organisms. Factual Observations almost always gives Spiritual Perceptions the cold shoulder.

That’s what makes modern man, with his microscope, computer, and particle accelerator, a real dumb-ass compared to his ingenious ancient ancestors who tried to pass down to us the light they discovered, that when poured over the facts we uncover, gives us Truth. The truth is: The Spirit gives life. A good synonym for “life” in this theological context, would be “definition.” It is what it is? (Dontcha hate cliches?) It is what it appears to be? It is what it says it is? No, no, and no. It is what the Holy Spirit says it is. It stopped being bread and wine the very moment the Holy Spirit defined it as the Body and Blood of Christ and a sacrifice pleasing and acceptable to God. Amen. It doesn’t matter what it looks like under a microscope.

With the psyche, it’s the spirit in the living organism, whether it’s in a coma about to die or in the womb yet to be born, that gives it true life. Killing a live person, outside of the double effect of war or self defense, is murder.

Soul: That’s what English speaking people call this essence that the Greeks named psyche. Most Greeks, before Christ, considered our physical beings just the box that packaged the soul. The physical world was just the foam that floated on the surface of the deep sea of the spiritual realm. The body, hell-bent on rotting back into the ground from which it came, just imprisoned the soul that begged for parole; to be set free for eternal life. Insignificant flesh and all important spirit: These two parts made up the entire life-being; the human.

Then along came Jesus Christ. The only begotten (not created) Son of God, encapsulated in a zygote, entrusted to the uterus of a brave young virgin who was full of grace and empty of sin; the only mother in human history to be created by her own child! We all know the story. C’mon you agnostics and atheists…Have some imagination! Stop bitching about religious people being narrow-minded long enough to be open-minded enough to see that these things, no matter how impossible, and unobservable and unnatural, and non-factual they may seem…Happen to be the truth -in its purest form, nothing to be afraid of, in fact the truth is, well…Really good news!

Jesus poured His light on this close-but-no-cigar concept of the human mechanism the Greeks constructed. The Greeks conceived that we are lop-sided, two part, dichotomies of body and soul beings until Saint Paul, passing down the Lord’s truth, straightened them out. Jesus was killed, and then came back to life and showed he was alive again to many witnesses that were later executed for their testimony to this fact. After, he ascended body and soul into Heaven returning to His Father thus rejoined to, although never really separated from, His Spirit: God: body, soul and spirit, like man in God’s image -body, soul and spirit. Paul referred to trichotomy in his first letter to the Thessalonians, [5:23] “May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you, through and through. May your (now here it comes!) whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”Ah, the refreshing taste and smell of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Then along came Sigmund Freud. An evil genius, who prayed to statues, smoked cigars that gave him mouth cancer (an appropriate disease for a liar) and didn’t have the cojones to face his impending death with grace and courage, so committed suicide. A mental health professional that ends his career with suicide? Kinda like a firefighter who ends his career by burning down the station. Ya think? Freud took a big, stinky dump on this wonderful two thousand year old truth with all his bogus ideas about ego and id and yadda yadda.

When he reassembles his ashes, and walks onto the set of the Today Show, and tells Matt Lauer how he not only discovered the remedy for human behavior gone bad, but has also unlocked the secret to overcoming death, obviously -because he came back to life…Then maybe I’ll take back everything I said in this article, read all of his and his students’ books, and look forward to the day Sigmund returns from outer space in glory, with hosts of angels to set foot on Rockefeller Plaza and bring all the dead back to life. Until then…I’m going with what God said: I am a unique creation, unlike any of his other creations, be it planets, trees, animals, or angels…

If I was just body and soul, I would be an animal. If I was just soul and spirit, I would be an angel. I am created in His image; three parts in one. My spirit, soul and body were built for eternity, even if I’m separated from it, although not really, and only temporarily, when I go down for my dirt nap, in hopes of my own bodily resurrection. I can’t completely fathom what my spirit is, but I sense and believe it is a part, probably the most important part, of me because it connects me to God, and makes me His child. Because I have faith in Jesus Christ, He sanctified my spirit with His Holy Spirit. So when I’m resurrected to stand in the presence of God, I won’t have to worry about his Holy Light instantly incinerating my corrupt self like I was standing an arms length away from ground zero when a nuclear bomb detonated.

Instead, I’m hoping to receive forgiveness for all my failings while in the flesh and maybe even an at-a-boy for some measly things I may have done right. All of you computers made of meat and homosapien mind and body animals that refuse to perceive yourselves like all of us gullible, narrow-minded, wide-eyed religious whackos, and can’t see yourselves as beloved by God, and created in God’s image -um, we hate to tell ya, but when you face God in all His glory, without a spirit sanctified by faith…You’re screwed. Oooh, you’re shaking in your boots, right? No, you’re positive that you’ve got it right! There will be no Theophany. No reason to hope, no reason to fear; just living and dying with a destiny to be nothing but worm food.

Well, if you’re wrong, you’ll find out -the hard way. If you are right…Then we’re all screwed.

-Pascal’s wager (paraphrased)

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2 responses to “Trichotomy: The Image of God

  1. >> Learned, ancient people also knew that it was this invisible spirit that made us very different from other creatures; like say, a worm, which also flinches when poked with a needle. They observed that if a worm sat on a tack it would quickly jump up…But because it had no soul, the worm wouldn’t get pissed and hit his mischievous student over the head with a scroll for sneaking it onto his seat.

    True, a worm is not going to get angry if you poke it with a needle. But a lizard might, and a cat absolutely would. Does that mean that a worm does not have an invisible spirit, a lizard might, and a cat absolutely does? Perhaps “having a spirit” is a matter of degree rather than a yes-or-no.

    If a psyche or soul is something that can be observed through its effects, I believe the evidence fits most naturally with the hypothesis that it is just an emergent phenomenon — a wondrous byproduct that can *gradually* arise as the computer-made-of-meat is made more complex. A worm has a little of it, a lizard more, a cat still more, and humans the most of all.

    You distinguished between “reactive” and “non-reactive” attributes, implying that humans’ uniqueness in the non-reactive category was evidence of something mysterious. When I was growing up, we were taught (in public school, no less) that humans were distinct from other animals because we used tools (a non-reactive behavior). Now we know that many animals use tools ( Once that distinction has been debunked, it was claimed, “Humans are the only ones who can think rationally.” Now we know that even birds can solve problems (google rook problem solving). Other distinctions from the past that have not withstood scrutiny include claims that animals don’t feel pain, animals don’t create art, animals can’t behave altruistically, and even animals don’t go to war. But the most obvious proof that non-humans can do more than just react been sitting under our noses the whole time: anyone who has a dog that begs to play “fetch” knows that animals are much more than reaction machines.

    But getting back to the “learned, ancient people” that were supposedly aware of the critical distinctions between humans and the rest of creation, I’m not sure which people you’re referring to. Throughout history, animism was *everywhere*. It is still widespread in the southern hemisphere today. As you know, animism is the belief that many if not all things, from people to rocks, have spirits. I almost think animism is the default religion of mankind. Even today, as a 54-year-old raised in the most advanced nation the Earth has ever seen, it’s hard for me to walk through the woods on a dark night, and *not* believe that every rock and tree has a spirit. Perhaps the learned, ancient Greeks were not animists, but I tend to think that there were many other learned, ancient peoples (as far as learning went in those day) that were.

  2. Hey Beagle! Thanks for this awesome, well thought out comment! I was expecting as well as hoping for as much from you. I didn’t define it as well as I should have in the paragraph that you quoted. I agree that animals in fact have a soul. They express almost every emotion that humans do. As I said later in the post, Animals have a body and a soul…Angels have a soul and a spirit. By ‘spirit’ I should more accurately say ‘Spirit’ because what I believe differentiates angels and humans from animals, is that although were are all God’s creation, animals are not adopted by God, and endowed with His Spirit.

    ‘The spirit gives life’ is another concept that I would like to do an entire post about, like this one. This concept is how I’ve come to understand how when Adam ‘named’ the animals, he actually ‘defined’ them and their purpose in creation. God let early man ‘co-create’ in that way. The ‘Spirit’ that was given to Adam, gave him the power, with God’s permission, to give ‘spirit’ to lower creation. This carries over to help me understand how a piece of unleavened bread and a chalice of wine can become the actual body and blood of Christ. That is: Transubstantiation (there’s a ten cent word!)

    Thanks for the inspiration Beagle! I hope we can keep this going. I’ve been looking forward to it, but have been to busy until lately. Good timing!

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